Apart from the traditional Rajasthani decor, there was a local shop where one could buy all the traditional stuff from kurtas to pagdis. One can buy local statues and hand paintings. My favourites used to be the lunch and dinner in my room that were served right in front of my broad window that stared away at the lake. I loved the biriyani that I had on the first day followed by butter chicken with naan and lime juice. But my favourite was the desserts and I tried almost all of them. The pista and rose kulfi just melted on my mouth. I used to order ras malai at times and kept it in the fridge till it was chilled up. But the most enjoyable was rabri in the traditional style. The fridge was always stocked with chocolate and other fizzy drinks. The afternoons would get sunny and hot. I used to sleep for three/four hours in the afternoon only to wake up just before the sunset. 6 pm was the boating time as a few of us would whisk off in the wooden motor boats all tucked up in our safety survivor suits. The hotel looked like a floating island and sounds of temple bells and flute rang in the air. The dance of the courtesans would start just before the sunset and her pink ghagra would swirl in the air. It was like watching the Sufi siblings at the OSHO outlet.

Yes, I had a short banter with a couple from Palestine as they joked about the local flavours. The lady was dressed in a black kurta with a huge silver serpent-like bindi on her forehead. She was having a great time. The courtyards in front of the lake were huge and had marble benches with cushions on them so one could actually sit down to enjoy the local dance.

The dinner was full maharaja style with music playing live inside the dining room. One could taste the best Rajasthani cuisine from bara roti to laal maans. I used to make sure that I had a light breakfast always choosing South Indian stuff like idli, upma and paper dosa. Sometimes, I would indulge myself in aalu puri with rich curd. I would often grab a chikoo or an orange in the evening after having my chaat.

The City Palace, built by Maharaja Udai Singh II, and the Durbar Hall are the other things to see in the city along with the City Museum. You could also lose yourself watching handcrafts and local paintings being made by the local artisans. Or you can just wander into the parks and have a roasted bhutta.

The hotel had full Wi-Fi connectivity and very well-trained and polite staff with humble manners and a helpful attitude. A staff member would carry the royal umbrella to give me shade whenever I would walk out towards the boat waiting to take me back to the other side. Oh! Udaipur is definitely a city close to my heart. It was like living in a painting or in a pristine novel for a while. It was like I was a character in the famous Gita Mehta novel called the Raj which I read during my university days in Manchester.

I was transported in time to an ancient age full of vintage cars, palaces, food and ghagra dances. Udaipur transported me into another land, into a picture-perfect painting and it felt as if I was part of the painting.

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